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  • Writer's pictureJude

A guide to spending 7 days solo in Antigua

Updated: Mar 18


Sunrise at Long Bay, Pineapple Beach Club Resort
Wake up to this sunrise when staying at Pineapple Beach Club Resort

Hi everyone, this is a guide on how to spend seven days solo in Antigua. I have split my time between three different hotels - a self catering option, a small all-inclusive resort followed by a large all-inclusive resort. This should help you decide on the type of accommodation that will work best you. Later in the post you can read about room only -vs- all-inclusive accommodation, common concerns about solo travel as well as the benefits of travelling solo. There is also a handy section on tips for solo travel which may be of particular use if it is your first time going away by yourself.



Travelling alone is enjoyable and empowering but it is a different type of holiday from going away with friends, family or a loved one. Therefore it is important to consider a few things beforehand. For example, do you wish to be sociable with others or stay within your own company? Is a beach important to you? Are you comfortable dining alone?


Flights from London to Antigua


British Airways flight from London to Antigua

I recommend taking flights from London to Antigua with British Airways. I have consistently received excellent service on board, good food and a great range of in-flight entertainment. Click on the link for current prices, availability and to book a flight. If you are considering a premium economy flight from London to Antigua read my blog post. You will find plenty of information. Although the tickets are more expensive, cabins are smaller, seats offer more legroom plus other benefits are included designed to make the flight just that bit more comfortable.


A guide to spending 7 days solo in Antigua


Airport Transfer to Accommodation

The best way to arrive at your hotel is by taxi. Contact your chosen hotel in advance and they should be able to organise for someone to meet you at the airport. Or, email me at info.worldwidetravelideas@gmail.com and I will put you in touch with people I recommend. The driver will appear holding a board with your name as you depart customs.


Alternatively, named desks are in front of the airport exit. Simply go to your designated desk, give your name and they call the driver for you. The cost is currently around US$50-60 for a 40 minute journey. Flights from London generally land around 1:30pm local time with an estimated hotel arrival by 3pm, perfect for checking into your room.


Day 1


Copper & Lumber Store, English Harbour


Courtyard at Copper & Lumber Store

Copper & Lumber Store is located within historic Nelson's Dockyard, a UNESCO world heritage site. It is incredibly picturesque with plenty of instagrammable photo opportunities. As the name suggests the building once stored copper and lumber to repair ships.


The benefits of solo travel at Copper & Lumber Store
  • Security at the dockyard entrance

  • Plenty of amenities within the dockyard

  • Walking distance to a larger supermarket

  • Walking distance to bars and restaurants

  • Walking distance to Pigeon Point beach

  • Walking trails

  • Incredibly friendly, welcoming and helpful members of staff

  • Telephone in room

  • Excellent Wifi

On arrival

Expect a friendly greeting and a welcome fruit or rum punch. A little tip - Antigua is a tropical place, there will be mosquitos and the best way to keep them at bay is an insect repellant named 'Off'. It does what it says on the can. I highly recommend purchasing some from the on-site shop on arrival as you will need it as the sun starts to set. Pick up a bottle of water too as the beach I recommend is nearby but up a hill and it is hot.


Hotel rooms

Suite at The Copper & Lumber Store

The rooms within the sympathetically restored Georgian building have a 'home from home' feel about them... comfortable beds, elegantly furnished, squishy sofas and a flat screen TV. Some of the rooms are equipped with kitchenettes too. Click on the link to read more about Copper & Lumber Store.


Pigeon Point beach

Pigeon Point Beach

Set off on a walk to Pigeon Point beach, it takes about 15 minutes and although there is a mean hill to climb to get there, it is worth it. If you really don't fancy the walk after travelling, reception will organise a taxi to take you.


Once on the beach, pad along the pale, sugar soft sand and listen to the gentle lapping of the sea. I tend to walk to the end and sit outside Catherine's Cafe (a recommended place to come for a drink, lunch or dinner). It feels like a safe spot to leave your bag unattended while taking a swim in the calm, clear water and there is plenty of natural shade from the trees around too. To the other end of the beach is a fantastic place to stop for a bite to eat or a sundowner, Bumpkins. It is open peak season apart from Mondays and it really is the best spot on Pigeon Beach for a photo of the sunset.


sunset from Bumpkins, Antigua


Galley Bar

In the evening perhaps go for dinner or a pre-dinner drink at Galley Bar within the dockyard. It is popular with 'yachties' who moor up during peak season and nobody bats an eyelid at people being there on their own, it's very common. Bar staff are friendly and drinks are reasonably priced. A glass of rosé costs EC$12 (around £4). The fish from here is particularly well seasoned and delicious.


fish and chips from Galley Bar, Nelson's Dockyard


Dining Options

Rum fudge cake at Trappas

There are plenty of dining options within walking distance outside the dockyard. Trappas is a good choice, popular with locals and tourists. It has a buzzy vibe, good music and tasty local and International dishes at a reasonable price. Portions are big. Oh and the chocolate butter rum cake and old fashioned rum punch are outstanding. For more ideas of where to dine solo, my post 'Best restaurants in English Harbour' gives details of the places where I have had great solo dining experiences.


Day 2


Hike to Fort Berkeley

Last remaining cannon at Fort Berkeley, English Harbour

After breakfast, or ideally before, to catch the sunrise, hike to Fort Berkeley, Antigua's oldest fortification built in 1745 to protect English Harbour. The walk is a little steep in places with loose rocks so wear supportive footwear. Have a look at my youtube video on Fort Berkeley for more of an idea but expect to see lizards, pelicans, hummingbirds and a variety of flora enroute to the top. Once there, as well as the remains, you can walk around the former Guard's House and witness for yourself the stunning views he would have had from the window. There is an additional building you can go enter into that used to store the gunpowder barrels. Take a selfie beside the last remaining cannon and marvel at the views across the harbour and Galleon Beach.


The Old Bakery, shops and art gallery

Dockyard bakery

Later in the morning, sip a coffee from the old bakery within the dockyard then browse the onsite souvenir shops and art gallery.


Mainbrace Restaurant

Prawn coconut curry from Mainbrace Restaurant

Indulge in a leisurely lunch at Copper & Lumber Store's excellent restaurant, Mainbrace.


Dockyard Museum

Museum at Nelson's Dockyard

Spend the remainder of the afternoon wandering around the dockyard museum, the home of Lord Admiral Nelson when his naval fleet were stationed here late 18th Century. The history of the dockyard is explained during a timeline of events. Artefacts are showcased in glass cabinets giving an insight as to what life may have been like.


Admiral's Inn

Bar area at Admiral's Inn

At night stop by the Admiral's Inn, a boutique hotel next door with a bar and restaurant. Reggie makes some excellent cocktails. The bar area once stored turpentine, pitch and lead while upstairs the refurbished rooms used to be dockyard engineer's offices. This is another great place to stay if you are by yourself. Click on the link to read more about Admiral's Inn.


Pillars

Pillars Restaurant

Pillars, the restaurant here, specialises in seafood. Many of the tables directly overlook the harbour with its twinkling lights, yachts bobbing about and tarpan leaping out of the water. Caribbean night is on a Wednesday during peak season. An additional Caribbean menu runs alongside the a-la-carte menu and a popular steel band plays well known favourite tunes.


Day 3


Galleon Beach

Galleon Beach

Spend a day at stunning Galleon Beach. If it's low season, pick up a pasty and sweet treat from the dockyard bakery for a light lunch or some food and drink from the local supermarket, Covent Garden and take a taxi to Galleon Beach. You can walk it but it is a long walk and it is hot and most people don't to be honest. There is a shuttle that runs from Copper & Lumber peak season but it works out more expensive if you are travelling solo, Current costs are US$5 one way if you are in a couple/group, US$10 if you are travelling alone.


Loose Cannon, Galleon Beach

On the beachfront a fantastic bar/restaurant, Loose Cannon is open peak season. They offer a free shuttle service in the afternoons from Covent Garden Supermarket. The beach is a long stretch of white sand and the shipwreck there makes it a popular place for snorkelling. Just remember to take your own snorkelling gear with you. You will see a plethora of colourful marine life including turtle sightings if you are lucky.


Rum Academy

The Rum Academy, Galleon Beach

Behind Loose Cannon is a Rum Academy open peak season. Pre-book a rum tasting course or make your own brand to take home.


Relax at dinner at one of the many choices of restaurants scattered around English

Harbour.


Click here to read more about Copper & Lumber Store


Days 4&5


Pineapple Beach Club Resort


Long Bay beach

Pineapple Beach Club Resort is a laid back, all-inclusive beachfront hotel for adults only. It is positioned on the Eastern coast of Antigua on the Atlantic side of the island. There is an extensive entertainment programme for those that like to keep busy but no pressure to partake if you prefer to relax and unwind. On resort there are several pools, a lively one with intermittent games and exercise classes, an infinity pool and a quiet pool for ultimate relaxation. Additionally the beautiful white, sandy beach, Long Bay is protected by a band of coral making it a great place to snorkel. Alternatively, relax on one of the water hammocks or sun loungers. The watersports desk has a range of complimentary non-motorised water sports for guests to hire such as kayaks, paddleboards and catamarans. So there is plenty to do by the water if you are here alone.


Entertainment Programme

Devil's Bridge
Devil's Bridge - where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean

The extensive entertainment programme varies from day to day. It offers something for everyone really and often individuals rather than couples take part so you are unlikely to feel out of place. Activities include ...


  • Beach volleyball

  • Pickleball tournament

  • Pool tournament

  • Bingo

  • Jewellery making class

  • Aqua aerobics

  • An early morning hike to Devil's Bridge

At night the entertainment is low key but it's enjoyable to have something to watch or listen to if you are by yourself and you can join in with dancing if you wish. However, there are big, comfortable lounge chairs by the bar and entertainment area that are good to cosy up in with a book if you prefer.


Accommodation


Refurbished rooms are comfortable within low rise apartment blocks set around gardens, the beach and pool. Pleasant relaxation areas are dotted throughout the resort with ocean views and hammocks swaying between palm trees.


Restaurants


In addition to a well stocked, self-serve buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, don't miss out on the bbq lunch at Outhouse. Walk up the hill or take a buggy ride to a peaceful spot for some juicy bbq ribs, homemade chilli beans 'n' nacho chips and fried festival. Admire the far reaching views over the ocean and resort.


Views from Pineapple Beach Club

For a more formal dining experience there are two other options. Chef Pietro is located beside the buffet serving a range of Italian dishes or Pineapple Grill, a seafood restaurant located near reception. The latter is lit up with fairy lights at night with tables on the verandah offering a welcome breeze. Food here is excellent and I highly recommend it for solo dining.


Benefits of Pineapple Beach Resort for solo travel

  • Entertainment programme if you like to join in the fun, keep busy and meet others

  • Relaxation areas, quiet pool and a beach large enough to find a spot away from others, if you prefer to keep with your own company

  • Organised bi-weekly trips to Shirley Heights party

  • Gym within the resort

  • Evening entertainment

  • Buffet restaurant if you prefer to eat and go or slower paced a la carte restaurants


Tips:

Pineapple Beach Club is quite an isolated hotel so if you like to spend some time off resort it may be worth considering car hire. A car hire desk is on-site.


Days 6&7


St James's Club Resort & Spa


Mamora Bay

St James's Club Resort & Spa is a sprawling, high end, all-inclusive resort on a 100 acre peninsular. It is framed by two beautiful sandy beaches, one with lively surf and dancing palm trees, the other tranquil and popular for relaxation and non-motorised watersports. Additionally throughout the resort are six pools, a coffee shop, several restaurants and a spa. A shuttle service operates for a small charge taking guests to the popular party at Shirley Heights. Clientele is mainly families and couples though it also attracts a number of solo travellers. There is plenty to get involved in here whether you choose to stay for a few days, a week or longer.


Entertainment Program

Main pool at St James's Club

There are many fun activities to get involved in at St James's Club should you wish. Exercise classes are great for solo travellers and there are plenty of these. Activities include ...

  • Caribbean dance classes

  • Yoga

  • Water polo

  • Quizzes

  • Bands

  • Steel Band

  • Quizzes

  • Movies

  • Lounge Bar with counter seating


Accommodation

St James's Club

Rooms and suites are spacious with incredibly comfortable beds and furnished balconies. Ensuite bathrooms comprise a tub with shower above.


Restaurants

Topaz restaurant at St James's Club

There are several restaurants to choose from at St James's Club that satisfy any dining requirement - casual, with entertainment or a more formal fine dining experience. Rainbow Garden is an extensive self-serve buffet open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You are guaranteed to find something you like. The Docksider serves Caribbean inspired dishes with weekly Calypso nights and steel bands and other themed evenings. Eleven-11 is a more casual affair serving pasta dishes and burgers. Piccolo Mondo is a more fancy restaurant with a surcharge of $40 per person.


Benefits of St James's Club for solo travel


  • Plenty of activities suitable for those on their own e.g. water aerobics and yoga

  • Movie nights

  • Choice of restaurants a la carte and buffet style

  • Evening entertainment

  • Several pools - some quiet

  • 2 beaches


St James's Club offers solo travellers the chance to meet others and socialise through its extensive entertainment program. However, it is easy to stay within your own company if you prefer. Due to the size of the resort it is possible you won't see the same people from one day to the next.


Top Concerns for solo travellers


What worries you about travelling solo? Have a think about it because I had a whole bunch of them when I first travelled alone. The trick is to brainstorm them and think of a possible solution before it happens to ease anxiety. From those I have spoken to and surveys I have conducted, these have been some of the most common concerns for both males and females.

  • Dining alone - Plenty of tips in my 'Solo dining in Antigua' post

  • What to do with your belongings if you need the bathroom while at dinner

  • Getting unwanted attention

  • Getting lost

  • Feeling guilty - A surprising amount of people have said they would feel guilty taking time away from their families or partner

What are the benefits of travelling solo?

  • An opportunity to focus solely on you and your needs without feeling guilty about it.

  • No compromising. We've all had a situation where we want to do one thing and the rest of the group want to do something else so we go along with it. With solo travel you don't have to compromise - just do what you want, when you want for however long you want.

  • Absorb yourself in that book you keep promising to read but haven't had time.

  • Reconnect with yourself and re-discover what you like to do.

  • Prepare yourself for a 'lightbulb moment'. Without the usual distractions it is surprising how your mind relaxes and highlights changes you want to make in your life.

  • Speaking to others. How many times do you strike up a conversation with someone that you wouldn't have done if you had been with a partner, friends or children. It can be opportunity to make new friends.

  • It is empowering.


Room only versus all-inclusive resorts

  • There is a tendency to stay on resort at an all-inclusive hotel as everything is already paid for.

  • Some people like to see familiar faces daily so more compact all-inclusive resorts can be beneficial in this regard.

  • Tours booked through all-inclusive hotels will be with others you may already know.

  • Larger resorts offer variety at meal times whereas the smaller resorts may have one main restaurant area for dinner.

  • Room only gives flexibility regarding activities and meal times but can work out more expensive.

  • Room only holidays are good for those who prefer to explore the local area


Helpful tips for solo travel


  • Read the reviews of the hotel you are considering staying at. Type 'solo' into the search bar and read the reviews and viewpoints of others who have been to the property by themselves.

  • Don't attract attention by wearing flashy jewellery and wave expensive cameras and mobiles around etc. It's a safe island but just use common sense as you would at home.

  • Book tours and trips via hotels and reputable companies. Anything featured on the 'Things to do in Antigua' and 'Hotels in Antigua' pages, I can recommend. I have also visited all the accommodation featured on the 'Antigua Holiday Rentals' page, so please email if you have any questions at info.worldwidetravelideas@gmail.com.

  • If you don't want to receive unwanted attention as a solo female traveller consider wearing a wedding ring if you are out on your own.

  • Ask hotel staff for recommendations of places to go to by yourself and organise transport for you.

  • Check your spending money before you travel and when given change (mostly change is given in EC$ but not always). Antigua does not accept even slightly torn US$s. Make sure you check the notes from the bank before walking away when you collect your currency too.



For further information on solo travel to Antigua, drop me an email at info.worldwidetravelideas@gmail.com and I will endeavour to get back to you within 24 hours. I have travelled here many times by myself.


Click the link for current prices, availability and to book Antigua hotels via Expedia Group.




Note: I will receive a small commission if you make a booking via the Expedia and British Airways links

If you make any bookings based on my recommendations your contract will be directly with the airline/travel company/hotel/activity/accommodation provider you booked through. I am acting as a referral point only based on information from my most recent visit which may be subject to change at any time.





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